When it comes to the game of 10-ball, Sanjin Pehlivanovic has been a force to be reckoned with recently – especially in Europe.
Earlier this month, the 20-year-old Bosnian won the 10-ball division of this year’s European Championships and finished second to former World 9-Ball champion Fedor Gorst in the 10-ball division of the Midwest Open in Ohio. Last year, Pehlivanovic finished in the top of the Predator Austria Open while making his presence felt on the EuroTour, finishing in the top 10 of both the Lasko and Sankt Johann in Pongau Opens.
Tuesday, during the second day of play at Predator’s World 10-Ball Championships, the young Bosnian’s showed the versatility and perseverance which has helped him earn the junior European Pool Championship eight times, as Pehlivanovic gutted out a hill-hill victory against 2019 World 10-Ball Champion Ping-Chung Ko at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Bosnian will now face Qatar’s Ali Al Obaidii today at 10 a.m. local time while Ko moves over to the one-loss side to face Ernesto Dominguez.
The two competitors played nip-and-tuck throughout the first half of the match, with neither player holding more than a one-game advantage. With the scored tied 5-5, Pehlivanovic broke and ran to climb ahead by a game, then returned to the table in the next game when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. When the Bosnian misplayed a safety on the 4 ball, it appeared Ko was positioned to tie the match but left the object ball in the jaws of the corner pocket. Pehlivanovic used a tight cut shot on the 5 ball and a straight in draw shot on the 6 ball to clear the table, open up the first two-game lead of the match and pull to within a single rack of victory.
Except that Ko wasn’t in the mood to go quietly, using a safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to pull to within a single game again at 7-6 then took advantage of a missed 5 ball by his opponent in the next rack to tie the score. When Pehlivanovic missed a combination shot on the 7 ball in the 15th and deciding game, it appeared that Ko was going to escape with a victory until he mangled cue ball position for the 6 ball, leaving a sharp cut shot into the side pocket. The young man from Chinese Taipei missed, handing the Bosnian a routine run out and an 8-7 victory.
While Pehlivanovic, who is still five months away from legally being able to drink in the United States, gave spectators a glimpse of the future, 73-year-old Jose Parica was showing that he still had plenty of game left as he battled Oscar Dominguez down to the wire before falling, 8-6.
Taking advantage of a couple of misses and adding a break-and-run, Dominguez built an early 5-2 advantage before experiencing some struggles of his own, missing a 4 ball in the eighth rack and failing to pocket a ball on the break in the following game. Parica, who was elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2014, turned a three-rack deficit into a tie score but Dominguez regained the lead with a break-and-run in the 11th game. He appeared to be in position to add to his lead when Parica was unable to pocket a ball on the break until he scratched in the side pocket while working his way through the rack. Handed an open table, Parica was on the verge of tying the game again when he missed the game-winning 10 ball in the corner pocket and lifted his cue and staring at the ceiling in frustration. The Filipino continued to battle, using a bank on the 1 ball and a long straight-in shot on the 2 ball to run the rack and cut the lead to 7-6.
Standing at the table with the break and a chance to tie the score in the 14th game, Parica did not have a shot at the 1 ball and was forced to play a safety. After a lengthy safety exchange, the Hall of Famer left an opening which his opponent walked right through, running out the rack to secure the match.
In other notable matches, Shane Van Boening pitched an 8-0 shut-out against Jason Theron, only to have Theron move to the one-loss side of the bracket and eliminate Billy Thorpe, 8-3. BCA Hall of Famer Darren Appleton remained undefeated with an 8-4 victory over Sharik Sayed while Fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen defeated Corey Deuel, 8-4. Former International Open champion Jayson Shaw was upset in a hill-hill battle with Roman Hybler of the Czech Republic.
The third day of play begins at 10 a.m. local time with notable matches including Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait taking on Filipino Roberto Gomez and Shaw facing Marco Teutscher on the one-loss side while Van Boening meets Roland Garcia and Lee Vann Corteza squares off with Pin-Yi Ko on the winner’s side.
The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.
The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.
Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.